Thursday, January 17, 2013

Burmese govt says it still wants peace talks with Kachins

Thursday, 17 January 2013 13:17 Phanida

The vice-chairman of the Burmese government’s Peace Making Work Committee, Minister Aung Min, will extend another offer of negotiations to the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) within the next few days, according to one of the talks’ main delegates, Hla Maung Shwe, on Wednesday.

The Burmese government's chief peace negotiator Minister Aung Min. Photo: Mizzima

“President’s Office Minister Aung Min announced at the Myanmar Peace Center in Naypyitaw on Wednesday morning that he would keep the offer [of peace talks] on the table,” said Hla Maung Shwe, speaking to Mizzima.

According to the delegation from Naypyitaw, an offer of negotiations was made on December 13, but the KIO did not respond.

“We have to keep talking even though the fighting has escalated,” added Hla Maung Shwe.

However, according to KIO spokesperson La Nan, immediately after the government’s offer of another round of peace talks, the Burmese army intensified its attacks on Kachin positions.

“Following Minister Aung Min’s offer of talks in December, the government ordered increased offensives. That’s why we did not feel it was an appropriate time to respond,” he said.

Hla Maung Shwe said that in the month of January, the government’s peace delegation plans to meet the Pa-O National Liberation Organization (PNLO) for a union-level meeting; to meet the ethnic bloc United Nationalities Federal Council to discuss a political framework; and to sit down with the KIO for peace talks.

“Minister Aung Min is ready to meet the UNFC,” said Hla Maung Shwe.

However, UNFC spokesperson Naing Han Thar recently told Mizzima: The UNFC advocates agreeing a cessation in hostilities before discussing a political framework.”
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